Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

Some times I get very brave and sketch something with a pen only.  Each item picked to be the only item (s) on the page of my sketchbook.  If it doesn't turn out I can always cover it with another piece of paper.

Sketchbook, ink & watercolor, Laundry Basket, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom

Laundry basket with a touch of watercolor added for a shadow.

Sketchbook, ink & watercolor, Leaves, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom

Fallen leaves from imagination.   Drawn bravely,  then some watercolor for a shadow and colors to emphasize the time of year.

Sketchbook, ink & watercolor, Tape Dispenser, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom

A tape dispenser sitting on my desk.  

Sketchbook, ink & watercolor, Pears, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom

Pears .... from a magazine. Kind of experimenting by not outlining each pear.

Be brave and try something you haven't tried before.  Your sketchbook is a great place to experiment.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

While looking through my sketchbooks I am amazed at how many times I've used them like a scrapbook ...

 Sketchbook scrapbook pages, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom 

On the two pages above I used a glue stick to enter two flier items we picked on a boat outing.  

  Sketchbook scrapbook pages, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom 

Probably from the same outing ... some receipts from a couple places we spent the night.

 Sketchbook scrapbook pages, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom

 This is a little card that came with a beautiful gift from my friend ... I think if I wouldn't have put it in my sketchbook I would easily have forgotten it.  Below the card I wrote what was in the box ..., apples, candied cherries, mixed nuts, chocolate truffles...

After a few years the memories dim ... by using my sketchbooks as a scrapbook it helps refresh my memory.

What about you, do you use your sketchbooks as a scrapbook too?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

From the Shores

While walking along the shore the other day I almost passed by this beautiful arrangement.  A feather, a mussel shell and some stones all gathered on top of a small fragment of  bark on the beach.

Isn't the color combination lovely ... the blues, the green, the browns and whites? To think  they just happened to end up together on the shore.  What a beautiful combination.


Recently I've been thinking I need to focus on becoming a better artist. I have a few books I want to read and re-read, that inspire me to work more intently.  Familiar books like Robert Henri's The Art Spirit,  Composition by Arthur Wesley Dow and Oil Painting Techniques and Materials by Harold Speed.  

I find right now there is a lot of time that I spend very discouraged with my work.  I want to focus on one aspect of painting until I feel more comfortable in my work and that I'm growing as an artist.    

So, if I'm not around as much, you'll understand. 
Meanwhile, I will still post my regular Art of a Sketchbook - Fridays and  as I start feeling more skilled with the things I'll be learning I'll share this also.

I'm excited and looking forward to the work this will require.  Wish me luck.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

Sketchbook Chronicle, graphite and watercolor, ©2013 Nancy Van Blaricom

While looking through my sketchbooks for something to share with you today I came upon this one entry that chronicles how I was feeling about losing a few pounds and gaining a few pounds ... adding different watercolors to different circled sentences. I see I only have this one entry of this type, but, looking at it now I like the way it looks.

This type of sketchbook entry isn't any help to something I wanted to paint, but, a lighter type journal entry.

This year I am going to try to focus on using a single sketchbook for one type of sketching I do.  One maybe for journal type sketching (like the above photo) and another for daily sketching, one for thumbnails, etc.  Mostly now I use one for everything until its full.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

❤ The BEET goes on ....

For February I wanted to paint something red for Valentines Day, but, not necessarily something with hearts or flowers. Hmmm, not ketchup, not a tomato or cherry (not in season) ... ahhh, I know, how about beets.  
                                                             The Beet Goes On, 6" x 6" oil on panel, © 2013 Nancy Van Blaricom

I don't paint a lot of still life's but I loved how pretty my beets looked in the yellow bowl.  After cropping the original photo I put it into Photoshop and pixilated it.  I think it might have made it easier for me to see some colors that might not have been as easy for me to see.  Always experimenting.

I love beets.  I love the way they taste and the way they look.  I   ❤ beets.

I think even Sonny and Cher like beets ... 
  the beet goes on, the beet goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain,
La de da de de, la de da de da

Friday, February 08, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

There are times in my sketchbooks when I focus on one subject like a new kayak and accessories.
Back in 2003 when I bought my Kayak and the weather wasn't nice enough for me to go outside it was fun to think about all the things that I had purchased to use when I did get to go kayaking.

This layout, where I drew each item and wrote something about it, is a fun way to tell a story in your sketchbook.  Have you tried this in your sketchbook?

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Summary of 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

31 Oil Paintings in 30 Days, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom

  • I like the variety of subjects I chose to paint.  Mostly outdoor scenes excepting the tube of paint, my ceramic bird  and a cement crab. I'm pleased with this because I want to focus mainly on land and seascapes.
  • I was pleased that when I painted water that it mostly looked like water and that isn't always easy to do ... especially when working faster than I like to work.
  • I painted more in one month than I have in some years.
  • I posted on my blog more in one month than I do usually in 6 months.
  • I did not like trying to finish one painting a day.  I'm not good at it.  I would prefer to start one painting and give it the attention I think it needs.... Which may be two days or one month.
  • I have always admired the daily painters.  They make it look so easy.  I love painting but I felt there was too much pressure to produce a painting a day.
  • If I were just painting without this challenge I probably wouldn't have posted 1/2 or more of these. Not that they are absolutely horrible, but, that I know I can do better with more planning and time.
  • When I had finished the 30 days and looked back I was surprised that I painted the number of animals I did.  Two cows, a peacock, a rooster, a crab a bear and a ceramic bird ... and mussels, which I'm not sure what category they fall under.  Definitely not a landscape!
  • If I were to do this over again I would go into it better prepared.  I'd have all my supports chosen and toned - supports for you non artists is the canvas, paper, board etc that you choose to put paint on. Usually I chose just before I started painting.
  • Also, I would pre-choose my subjects.  At the most I was one or two days ahead in thinking what I would paint next.
  • I think I've learned how to handle my brushes better and what brushes I enjoy using in most cases.
  • There are a couple of paintings I did that I will continue to work on and possibly come up with a finished painting I'm happy with.   And, there are a few that truly are studies for larger paintings.
  • And I have found some great new artist friends who's work I really admire.

Thanks to all of you who followed along on my 30 day painting journey. I loved hearing from you and appreciate that you took the time to email me or post comments.

Friday, February 01, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

One of the best uses of a sketchbook is to use it for thumbnails prior to a painting.  

Below I used my sketchbook when in a workshop to figure out a few ideas about values, colors etc.  I made sure and write down a few notes where the sun was coming from, where the light was hitting the trees etc.

 © 2012 Nancy Van Blaricom
After finishing the painting I realize I was pretty new at using my notes as well as I should have ... completely ignoring a few of them.  *wide-eyed in surprise ....  (don't think I even looked at a few of them).

 © 2012 Nancy Van Blaricom
The value sketch above was more of a drawing + value sketch.  Also notice I used part of the opposite page to work out some thoughts on colors.

Mountain Brook, 12" x 16" watercolor on Arches 140 lb. © 2012 Nancy Van Blaricom
I was happy to be able to find a few sketchbook pages to share with you where I had actually used the thumbnails to help me in some paintings.

Do you use your sketchbook to help you with a painting?  writing down colors, values, weather, what drew you to the scene to paint?